This month meet Dr. Deer, Clinical Director of Friend-raising for the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees.
Some only know him as a mascot, but we know him as so much more than that.
1. Where are you from?
I come from humble beginnings. I was born in the southern neighbourhood of the North Pole (herd population: 27) – but my family relocated to the Canadian Tundra right before my second birthday.
The initial settling in for my family took time. We came from a bustling Christmas village, but on the Tundra, we had to create our own Christmas cheer. It started with building a Gingerbread house, and that quickly escalated into the annual “Deer Family Gingerbread Competition”.
2. When did you decide to become a doctor?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a doctor, just like my dad. My brother, Theo, and I would read his old textbooks so often that the pages eventually wore out.
I started saving up for University as a teenager, pulling sleighs for highly ranked Elves who visited the Tundra. I graduated from the Canadian Tundra University, majoring in Reindeerology.
3. What led you to specialize in friend-raising with the Festival of Trees?
During medical school I was a resident at the University of Alberta Hospital – where, surprisingly, I was the only one studying Reindeer Medicine. Within my first few weeks at the Hospital, I volunteered at the Festival of Trees in the Hospital Room, where I discovered a whole new side of medicine – and met a ton of new people!
The Festival of Trees asked me to become their Chief of Friend-raising after I graduated. I was thrilled to accept.
4. What do you do for fun?
Well, I’m vegan – and I love finding new vegan restaurants around Edmonton. My brothers and I still get together every year for our annual “Deer Family Gingerbread Competition” – we get inspired by the incredible designs every year at the Festival of Trees.
We typically head back to the North Pole every summer. It’s always Festive there!
5. What is your favourite local hang out?
This might be obvious, but the Festival of Trees is my favorite place in the world – it’s even better than the North Pole!
6. What can you tell us about this year’s Festival of Trees?
It’s going to be bigger and better than ever. I am so excited for everyone to see our featured display this year – last year’s was a giant tree made out of hockey skates. So good. This year it’s… well you’ll just have to see it to believe it!
The Festival is supporting a very important cause this year – the Emergency Department at the University of Alberta Hospital. With support from the Festival of Trees and many generous community donors, medical teams will have the space and advanced equipment they need to treat patients faster.
The University Hospital Foundation’s 2017 Festival of Trees runs from November 30 to December 3 at the Shaw Conference Centre. This year’s Festival will help people at University of Alberta Hospital’s Emergency Department get the care they need, when they need it most.